Landlord Fined $250k for Refusing to Rent to Housing Voucher Recipients – Landlord/Tenant Law

Rochester attorney Robert Friedman discusses the fines landlords can face if they refuse to rent to housing voucher recipients.

Good Morning. I am Bob Friedman, Attorney with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC.

Welcome to the Monday, August  31st, 2020 edition of the Legal Survival Channel: Today’s Legal News You Can Use.

New York landlords beware: Housing discrimination on the basis of source of income is prohibited in New York, just as it is in Washington, DC, where a property management company was fined $250,000.00 for refusing to accept housing rent vouchers from potential tenants.

In November 2018, the Office of the Attorney General filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against Evolve, LLC, a DC real estate and property management company, after an investigation revealed that the company used a web-based scheduling system to automatically deny apartment showings to prospective tenants who indicate that they rely on housing vouchers to pay rent.

A judge granted the District’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that Evolve violated The D.C. Human Rights Act (DCHRA) which specifically prohibits housing discrimination based on source of income.

Evolve agreed to resolve the lawsuit without further litigation by paying the fine, implementing policies that comply with the District’s anti-discrimination law, putting its employees through anti-discrimination training, and making it clear that it rents to housing voucher participants.

Since April 2019, New York State Human Rights Law has protected tenants from discrimination 665 source of income. Lawful sources of income include child support, alimony, spousal maintenance, foster care subsidies, Social Security, and public assistance. Housing assistance includes Section 8 or any other type of vouchers, regardless of whether they are paid directly to the tenant or the landlord.  Housing providers, real estate professionals, managing agents, co-op boards, condo associations, and tenants who sublet are all prohibited from practicing this type of income discrimination.

For answers to your housing discrimination questions, contact the Landlord/Tenant Lawyers at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC at 716-542-5444.

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